Psalm 142:4

It may be that the psalmist was thinking only or chiefly of his life; but more commonly the soul refers to that which is of far more worth than the body - to that in us which is spiritual, immortal, and made in the image of God. And thus we shall understand the word here, and speak of "the evil and danger of neglecting the souls of men." See Dr. Doddridge's great sermon on this theme. The psalmist declares, "No man eared for my soul."


1. It often seems so. How many there are to whom no one ever speaks, for whom no one makes any direct effort to win them for God! They are just let alone. And it is not because they would resent such endeavor. Often they greatly desire that some one would speak to them; for they know they are wrong, and need help to be other than they are. But it seems as if no one cared.

2. But, strictly speaking, it is not universally true. For there have never been any periods of time when there were not some faithful workers for God, and earnest intercessors for sinful men. And often it has been that, unknown to the soul that thinks itself uneared for, fervent prayers have been going up to God for that soul. And if not specially for that soul, yet for all such souls, that God would have mercy upon them, and lead them into the way of truth, for that they have erred and are deceived. When do God's people ever gather together without such prayers being offered?

3. Still, it is far too largely true. The neglect of souls on the part of those who should care for them is a terrible and distressing fact.


1. All Christians generally. For if we be saved by the compassion and grace of God ourselves, we are bound by every motive to try and get others saved likewise. If we do thus try, prayerfully and earnestly - let men call us by any ill name they please - the consciousness of Christ's approval and benediction will become surer and fuller of holy joy and help every day we live. If we make no such endeavor, the salvation we have will dwindle and starve, and, ere long, utterly disappear, and our last state will be worse than the first.

2. But more especially those who are nearest to such souls, and who have, therefore, most influence over them. Fathers and mothers first and chief of all. As they are, so the children will be. Then teachers, especially teachers in Sunday schools. What is the good of such schools if the teachers do not, above everything else, care for the souls of those they teach? And ministers: theirs, beyond most others, is the cure of souls. How awful, if they to whom this charge has been especially given, should be found faithless! What will such answer, when asked by the "chief Shepherd and Bishop of souls," as they will be asked, what they have done with those entrusted to their care?


1. With some it is unbelief. They doubt almost every truth which the Church teaches. Some actually deny, others do not more than half believe.

2. With others it is misbelief. They pervert the doctrine of the sacraments, of the eternal mercy of God, of final perseverance, and, on such grounds, say, "Peace, peace," when there is no peace.

3. With more it is that they are not saved themselves. Their belief, whatever it is, does nothing for them, gives them neither peace, purity, strength, nor joy. They profess, but do not possess, and therefore cannot impart to others what is not their own.

4. Fear of man. How many, who should be directly and avowedly caring for souls, are ensnared here! And they salve their consciences by thinking that such work belongs to the clergy or the ministers - not to such as they. We shall never do anything until we are willing to be thought "fools for Christ's sake."

5. Dread of doing harm rather than good. But duty is ours, not consequences; and if God, by his Spirit, prompt, and bids us speak for him, as he very often does, all we have to do is to obey. He will take care of the consequences. Such are some of the causes of this sad lack of care for souls.


1. The glory due from us to Christ is not reordered. The martyrs whom St. John saw overcame "by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony." Christ claims our confession of him.

2. Men are hardened in sin. They say, "If these people believed what they profess, they would not leave us alone as they do. They don't believe it, and we won't."

3. Our own souls perish; for we are guilty of our brother's blood.

V. HOW IS IT TO BE REMEDIED? What is involved in the caring for souls?

1. Belief in the existence of the soul. In its worth; its peril; in the willingness of God to save it.

2. Solicitude for its salvation.

3. Open, active, and definite endeavor to secure this.

4. Be sure that we are saved ourselves.

CONCLUSION. To those who bring the charge, "No man careth for my soul," we would say:

1. Mothers do not care, see to it that you care yourself. It is your concern, after all.

2. If others care ever so much, and you do not, you will be only worse off titan before.

3. But if you care, then, whether others care or not, you will certainly be saved. - S.C.

No man cared for my soul
With normal natures happiness begins with the thought that God has time to care for each life. In a world where no grain of sand escapes Nature's notice, where there are no runaway stars or suns, where a Divine Ruler leads a beautiful world out of darkness, fire-mist, and chaos, man cannot support the thought that there is no place for him in God's loving providence. So momentous are those events named a betrothal, a marriage, the death of babe, or mother, or statesman, that men wish to associate them with a Divine Friend. Indeed, the most bitter cry that ever arises from human lips is this one: "No man cared for my soul." In a world full of conflict, full of labour, whose fruitage is often sorrow, man fulfils his journey across the wilderness towards the promised land, supported by the thought that the angels of God's providence go before him. Standing under the midnight sky, looking into the realm where stars twinkled and suns blazed, Job found it easy to believe that man moves forward under the convoy of an intimate Friend. From the thought that the millions of orbs making up the community of the sky are Divinely controlled, the mind passes easily to the larger thought that God is carrying individual men and nations upward toward a sublime culmination. But if the scholar finds a unifying power in the heavens, the historian finds a providence in the history of nations, in that each country has its special task, each generation its own contribution. For multitudes this great truth of God's overruling cars has been eclipsed by reason of the vastness of the universe. At one time the East stood close beside the West. Now the telescope has crowded back the horizon. In Newton's day the sun was known to be ninety millions of miles away. To-day, in comparison, the distance to the fixed stars, the distance to our sun is like the distance to the threshold of one's next door neighbour. Science has enlarged the universe in space, but it has enlarged the soul of man a thousandfold more. The new science has caused the mind to rise up, clothed with infinite majesty and beauty. Earth knows only one thing vast enough and precious enough to justify an overruling providence and care — the human soul. Can a human mind shape the innumerable threads into one beautiful whole, and the infinite God be unable to control fifteen hundred millions of men, leading them toward one great purpose of happiness and righteousness? The laws of light and heat, the laws of gravity and soil are so delicately related as to encourage the thought that all the mechanism of the starry world is arranged for the embroidering of violets upon the lap of spring. The vastness of Nature does but enlarge the scope of God's providential purpose. The thought, God cares for man, has also suffered injury through the over-emphasis of the reign of law. Science exhibits man as moving forward enmeshed in laws of heat and light and gravity. By law the winter recedes, by law the summer advances, by law the harvests are ripened, by law the clouds are lifted, by law the rivers are filled. Soon men began to spell the word Law with a capital "L," and Force with a capital "F." Gently law and force led the Infinite Being to the edge of the universe, and bowed Him out of existence. Men decided that law could build the world if it was spelled with large letters instead of small. But nothing could have been more foolish than this over-emphasis of law. Merchants do, indeed, have one law, by which the office opens at eight, and another law by which it is closed at six, but if some foolish person should think that these rules which the merchant has enacted have built up his trade so that it is no longer necessary to have a merchant or an inventor, and all the businesses get along by the rules and need no presiding mind, we should have that which would answer precisely with the amazing thought that the laws of nature have done away with the necessity of God. Man has certain habits that are the rules of his life. God's habits are Nature's laws. And but for their stability the universe would be without flexibility. Thus science, that once threatened to do away with Providence, has now, through the reign of law, established providence. For laws are flexible, not alone for God, but for man, who, through them, makes this world a fruitful and beautiful paradise. Now, for the individual life, how unspeakably precious this declaration of God's loving care! In hours of weakness, when baffled and beaten, when man perceives how vast is the sphere in which he is moving, how mighty are the forces whirling about him, he yearns for some power strong enough and wise enough to overrule events, and from defeat lead forth to victory. It is not enough that there is a providence over summer and winter, by which the barn and storehouse are made to overflow. In the midst of the fierce strife man cries out, "No one cares for my soul." Nature has no personal friends. On the battlefield a thousand men may lie in the orchards and thickets, weltering in their life blood, but the boughs heed not the prayers, the trees shed no tears. In the olden times, when the knight went into battle, he carried with him the name and face of his beloved one. One look upon that face armed him for his conflict. Dying, upon that face his last look fell. It is said that man's name is written upon God's hand. With the coming of each sun comes the loving providence, and after each day's going the great God remains. Happy is the man who feels that God cares for him, that he journeys forward under Divine convoy, that his Father is Regent of universal wisdom and represents the whole commonwealth of love, and commands all nature to serve His child. Such a man is weaponed against every enemy, and is invincible. He who ever carries with him this sense of God's loving providence is fitted to pass through fire, through flood, through all the thunder of life's battle. God cares for you — then you cannot live too long, and you cannot die too soon, for heaven ever lies all about you. God cares for man — then from every storm there is a harbour.

(N. D. Hillis.)

: —

I. A WRONG social state. Each taken up with himself, and none concerned for his neighbours, is manifestly wrong.

1. It is unnatural. The constitution of our nature, — endowed as we are with social longings and sympathies, and with faculties suited to render service one to another, — proves the unnaturalness of social indifference. What is morally abnormal is morally wrong.

2. It is unrelational. We are all the offspring of the same common Father, all united by the bonds of consanguinity. Indifference, therefore, is manifestly wrong.

3. It is un-Christian. Christ lived and died for our race, and His apostles exhorted us to care for others rather than ourselves.

II. A MISERABLE social state. Though there may be much in a man's temperament, character, and procedure to alienate him from others, — he may be unsocial, irascible, and grossly immoral, — all this does not justify his fellows for utterly disregarding him. In truth it forms a strong reason why they should be interested in him.

(David Thomas, D. D.)

: — This psalm is the last one of eight which are, not unreasonably, associated with the persecution of David by Saul in the south country of Judah (see the heading). It was an anxious, lonely, wearisome time; all the harder to bear because David knew he was innocent of any evil intentions concerning the Lord's anointed. But it was, in some respects, a best time for David. Then there was a great crying after God. In his despondency, when everything seemed to be going wrong with him, David took up the idea that nobody really eared for him. And when a man gets into that mood and mind he is in grave danger of becoming reckless. If David had gone on to say, "And even God does not care for me," he would have become altogether desperate, and would have said, "Then why should I care for myself? Why should I any longer try to be true, and good, and faithful? Why not let things go? Nobody cares for my soul." By his "soul" David would mean his bodily life; and the history tells us that, just matching the exclamation of this psalm, towards the end of the persecution spoken of, David bitterly and hopelessly exclaimed, "I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul." He was wrong in that. Some one did care for his soul, both in the lower sense of his "life," and in the higher sense of "his spiritual welfare." Taking the word "soul" in its higher sense, there are many around us who may use the words of the text.

I. CARING FOR SOULS IS NOT THE WORK OF THE WORLD. Caring for one another in all the ranges of the material and the moral is the world's work. Our interest in each other as worldly men and women is limited to physical well-being, social comfort, educational progress, and moral goodness. Not until man is quickened himself with the higher spiritual life is he in the least likely to concern himself about the possibilities of the higher spiritual life for others. There is such a thing as seeking the welfare of the race. There have always been philanthropists moved by "the enthusiasm of humanity." But their efforts do not go beyond the removal of disabilities, and reformation of abuses, and uplifting in the social and intellectual planes. But man is no mere body with a material environment. God has "breathed into his nostrils the breath of life." Man has become a "living soul." He is a spirit, and we must find spirit forces if we would deal with his most real necessities.

II. CARING FOR SOULS IS THE PROPER WORK OF THE CHURCH. From the Church's point of view men are perishing; they are dying in their sins, and she, and she alone, has the evangel that can save the perishing and quicken the dead. The Church of Christ may do, and ought to do, all that the philanthropist would do; but it must do more. The Church exists to do just what its Divine Lord did, seek and save the lost. Its work is to devise and carry through schemes for the salvation of souls, and whatever form its agencies and efforts may take, this, and nothing less than this, must be at the heart of them.

(Robert Tuck, B. A.)

: — We are all sympathetic with physical disaster, but how little sympathy for spiritual woes! There are men in this house who have come to mid-life who have never yet been once personally accosted about their eternal welfare.

I. UNSATISFIED LONGINGS. You feel as you go out day by day in the tug and jostle of life that it is every man for himself. You can endure the pressure of commercial affairs, and would consider it almost impertinent for any one to ask you whether you are making or losing money. But there have been times when you would have drawn your cheque for thousands of dollars if some one would only help your soul out of its perplexities. There are questions about your higher destiny that ache, and distract, and agonize you at times. You sometimes think till your head aches about great religious subjects. You wonder if the Bible is true, how much of it is literal and how much is figurative law, if Christ be God, if there is anything like retribution, if you are immortal, if a resurrection will ever bake place, what the occupation of your departed kindred is, what you will be 10,000 years from now. With a cultured placidity of countenance you are on fire with agitations of soul. Oh, this solitary anxiety of your whole lifetime. You have passed up and down the aisles of churches with men who knew that you had no hope of heaven, and talked about the weather and about your physical health, and about everything but that concerning which you most wanted to hear them speak — viz. your everlasting spirit. Times without number you have felt in your heart, if you have not uttered it with your lips, "No man cares for my soul."

II. MAN'S EXTREMITY. There have been times when you were especially pliable on the great subject of religion. It was so, for instance, after you had lost your property. Everything seems to be against you. The bank against you. Your creditors against you. Your friends suddenly become critical against you. All the past against you. All the future against you. You make reproachful outcry: "No man cares for my scull" There was another occasion when all the doors of your heart swung open for sacred influences. A bright light went out in your household. Within three or four days there were compassed sickness, death obsequies. A few formal, perfunctory words of consolation were uttered on the stairs before you went to the grave; but you wanted some one to come and talk over the whole matter, and recite the alleviations, and decipher the lessons of the dark bereavement. No one came. Many a time you could not sleep until two or three o'clock in the morning, and then your sleep was a troubled dream, in which were re-enacted all the scene of sickness, and parting, and dissolution. Oh, what days and nights they were! No man seemed to care for your soul. There was another occasion when your heart was very susceptible. There was a great awakening. There were hundreds of people who pressed into the Kingdom of God; some of them acquaintances, some business associates, yes, perhaps some members of your own family were baptized by sprinkling or immersion. Christian people thought of you, and they called at your store, but you were out on business. They stopped at your house; you had gone around to spend the evening. They sent a kindly message to you; somehow, by accident, you did not get it. The lifeboat of the Gospel swept through the surf, and everybody seemed to get in but you. Everything seemed to escape you. One touch of personal sympathy would have pushed you into the Kingdom of God.

III. A STARTLING REVELATION. Instead of this total indifference all about you in regard to your soul, I have to tell you that heaven, earth, and hell are after your immortal spirit — earth to cheat it, hell to destroy it, heaven to redeem it. Although you may be a stranger to the Christians in this house, their faces would glow and their hearts would bound if they saw you make one step heavenward. No one cares for your scull Why, in all the ages there have been men whose entire business was soul saving. In this work Munson went down under the knives of the cannibals whom he had come to save, and Robert McCheyne preached himself to death by thirty years of age, and John Bunyan was thrown into a dungeon in Bedfordshire, and Jehudi Ashman endured all the malarias of the African jungle; and there are hundreds and thousands of Christian men and women now who are praying, preaching, living, dying to save souls.

IV. A STUPENDOUS INTERVENTION. No one cares for your scull Have you heard how Christ feels about it? I know it was only five or six miles from Bethlehem to Calvary, the birthplace and the deathplace of Christ; but who can tell how many miles it was from the throne to the manger? From the first infant step to the last step of manhood on the sharp spike of Calvary a journey for you. Oh, how He cared for your scull

V. THE FATHER'S PATIENCE. A young man might as well go off from home and give his father and mother no intimation as to where he has gone, and, crossing the seas, sitting down in some foreign country, cold, sick, and hungry, and lonely, saying: "My father and mother don't care anything about me." Do not care anything about him! Why, that father's hair has turned grey since his son went off. He has written to all the consuls in the foreign ports, asking about that son. Does not the mother care anything about him? He has broken her heart. She has never smiled since he went away. All day long, and almost all night, she keeps asking: "Where is he? Where can he be?" Oh, do not his father and mother care for him? You go away from your heavenly Father, and you think He does not care for you because you will not even read the letters by which He invites you to come back, while all heaven is waiting, and waiting, and waiting for you to return.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.

1. A deep and heartfelt conviction of its worth. The soul is spiritual in its nature, noble in its capacities, and eternal in its duration.

2. A deep and thorough sense of the danger to which it is exposed.

3. Tender solicitude for its welfare.

4. Zealous exertion for their salvation.


1. On the heads of families.

2. On all the members of the Church.

3. Pre-eminently on ministers.


1. It is cruel. A man would be considered cruel who saw one of the "beasts that perish" in danger, and did not attempt its rescue. He is cruel who, having it in his power to relieve the necessitous, or save the perishing, does not do it. But the cruelty of the man who, knowing the danger of souls, does not care for them, is beyond expression.

2. It is ungrateful. If others had not cared for us, we must have perished.

3. It is criminal.

4. It is fatal. Fatal to those who are perishing, and fatal to those who have a name to live; fatal to all genuine piety, fatal to all ardent love to the Saviour's cause, fatal to zealous exertions for ethers, but especially fatal to our own souls.

(Sketches of Four Hundred Sermons.)

: —


1. Man has a soul.

2. Man's soul is of priceless worth (Matthew 16:26).

3. Man's soul requires to be cared for. It needs —

(1)Light (Proverbs 19:2; Hosea 4:6; John 3:16-21; 1 John 1:5-7).

(2)Freedom (John 8:32; Romans 6:12-18; Psalm 119:32).

(3)Holy nurture (John 6:51; Hebrews 6:1, 2; 2 Peter 1:5-8).

(4)Christian help and companionship (Ecclesiastes 4:9, 10; Galatians 6:1, 2; Romans 12:10; Hebrews 10:24, 25; 1 Corinthians 12:12-26).


1. Want of sympathy (Matthew 27:4; Psalm 69:20; Amos 1:11; Matthew 18:33; Ephesians 4:32).

2. Unbrotherly neglect (Deuteronomy 20; Deuteronomy 3:7; Genesis 4:9; Isaiah 58:7-12; Galatians 6:2; Exodus 3:18).

3. Heart-killing repulse.


1. To man. Pity. Sympathy. Brotherly help (Acts 16:9).

2. To God. No one cries to God in vain. The poor may look to the rich in vain, but God is the helper of the poor (Psalm 10:14).

(W. Forsyth, M. A.)


1. How many a child may say, "My parents cared not for my soul. They were attentive to my body, and to my bodily health and preservation. They sought my temporal comfort; they got me bread to eat and raiment to put on. They felt for me when I lay sick upon my bed; they spared no trouble to do me service and to get me well again: but they cared not for my soul."

2. How many a servant may say this? A servant is as capable of knowledge, of holiness, and of happiness as a master. "God is no respecter of persons."

3. How many a neighbour may say this. If a neighbour meet with some sad accident, or what we usually call a misfortune, what a concern do we all feel for him but who cares for his soul? who feels concerned for that?


1. Because it is the noblest part of the creation. It is in what regards the soul that "man is but a little lower than the angels." It is the soul that reasons, hopes, fears, recollects, anticipates. It is the soul that is imperishable: the body returns to the dust again; the spirit to Him who gave it.

2. On account of its vast capabilities.

3. Because of the price paid for its redemption — the blood of Christ.

4. Because if lost it will remain lost and unredeemed for ever.

(W. Mudge.)


1. When they are at a loss with respect to soul concerns, and have none to instruct them in difficulties nor advise them (Isaiah 41:28).

2. When they have wandered out of the way, and have none to reprove them.

3. When they are visited with affliction, either in their persons or families, and have none to pray with or for them. As secret, so social prayer is a duty; and intercession is a necessary part of both.

4. When they are under distress and anguish of mind, and have none to comfort them.


1. In passing this censure, let us take care that we be not mistaken. Let us not give way to groundless jealousies, or be suspicious of our friends without a cause.

2. If none care for our welfare, what a mercy is it that God has excited in us a care of our own souls; that we are not in that stupid, insensible state in which we once were, and perhaps continued for many years! If others neglect our souls, it should more and more awaken our serious concern and anxious solicitude about them.

3. What a still greater mercy it is that God cares for our souls.

4. In order to avoid the charge in our text, let us not fall into the contrary extreme; and whilst we are busily concerned about others' souls, let us not neglect our own.

(B. Beddome, M. A.)

If we think only of ourselves, of our own comfort, or convenience, or safety, our selfish-Hess is most inexcusable. It is not only vast regions, dark and dead, through the debasing influences of heathenism which beckon onward the philanthropist and the Christian to help, but there is an important work to be done at our very doors.

1. Take the case of some poor child that you know of; a child left to the tender mercies of an ignorant, heartless parent; a child suffered to run at large without even the appearance of control. This neglected child might be brought to Sunday-school and church; might be taught to shun even petty dishonesty as a sin; might be kept from speaking the language of demons; might at least be shielded from the more alluring forms of temptation.

2. You are on friendly and familiar terms with many irreligious people, over whom you might easily exercise some influence for good. They visit often at your.houses, and you chat with them daily on the street. If all of us who claim to be Christians would show by our conduct that we really eared for the souls of those who are living unmindful of their obligations to God, our labour of love would be wonderfully blessed.

3. Even when people have become members of God's family, the Church, they need and long for the kindly sympathy of those who belong to the household of faith.

4. There are those who, having learned by sad experience the folly and wretchedness of a life of sin, would gladly return into better ways if they only knew how to accomplish it.

(J. N. Norton, D. D.)

: — Vedius Pollio was a wealthy and luxurious Roman patrician. In his magnificent villa at Puteoli there reclined one day at the epicure's sumptuous table, with many other distinguished guests, the Emperor Augustus. A slave, waiting upon the company, let fall a costly crystal vase, shattering it in fragments upon the mosaic pavement. Instantly the unfortunate wretch fell at the imperial feet, piteously pleading for his life. "Why?" exclaimed the master of the world; "what danger to thy life?" The trembling supplicant replied that he expected, according to his lord's custom in such cases, to be east into his fish-pond as food for his lampreys. A cloud of wrath darkened the monarch's brow; and, fixing his keen eye sternly upon his host, Augustus arose, seized a staff, and dashed to pieces all the crystal ware before him, in a terrific tone exclaiming — "Know thou, O miscreant and murderer! that one human life is worth more than all the crystal vases in the world!" This must have happened while One was walking the hills and vales of Palestine, who, had He been present, might have told the haughty Roman of something far more valuable even than human life. He teaches us that the soul is worth more than the earth and all its material contents, and that there is nothing in all the Creator's visible works to be named as its approximate equivalent in value. In creation the body was first constructed, and then tenanted by the "living." The soul is the life of the body, and the body is the servant of the soul. The soul uses the body as its vehicle of thought and feeling, its means of communication with the outer world; while the body ministers to the soul with all its members and organs, bringing it intelligence from all quarters, and enlarging and multiplying its joys. This, then, is the primary excellence of the soul — its spirituality; to which we must add its splendid intellectual faculties, which render it so far superior to all mere animal existences, and capable of indefinite progress and improvement. Its powers of reasoning, comparing, combining, abstracting, analyzing, classifying, imagining the unseen, forecasting the future, recalling the past with all the vividness of present reality, creating for itself ideal scenes amidst which it moves as in a fairy realm — these are strictly human faculties in which it is approximated by no other order of creatures within the range of our observation. And to the growth of these faculties we can assign no limits, and none to the knowledge which the soul may acquire by their exercise. 'But far loftier than its intellectual are its moral capabilities and capacities. It has a living conscience, and is responsible to a divine law. There are voices within which proclaim its immortality. There are hopes and longings which reach into other worlds. There are instincts which earth cannot satisfy, and faculties which time cannot mature. Will Jehovah cut short the career of a creature capable of eternal progress? Does He delight in such abortive creations? Man is at present but in embryo, at best but in chrysalis, and death is only a change in the mode and the circumstances of his being. For this glorious truth we are indebted to the Holy Book. All Divine revelation proceeds upon the principle of man's admitted immortality. What wonder that God cares for it, Christ dies for it, angels watch over it, and demons strive to control its destin! And how ought you and I to estimate its value, tremble for its danger, labour for its rescue, and rejoice in its salvation! And what a fearful accusation against us is the voice of a world's sins and sorrows continually crying in the car of God — "No man careth for my soul"! May no accusing voice in judgment, no wail from the ranks of the reprobate and the ruined ever reach our ears — "No man cared for my soul!"

(J. Cross, D. D.)

What an amount of pathos is contained in this expression! How sad that any human being should ever have occasion to utter it! As long as any Christianity is left in the world, as long as common humanity even has not wholly deserted it, no one, we should think, would be so utterly forlorn as to be obliged to say, "No man cared for my soul." That the sensual and the worldly should not care for the souls of their brethren might not indeed surprise us; but that Christians should not is truly wonderful. If we feel it a duty to feed the hunger and clothe the nakedness of the body, much more should we endeavour to feed moral hunger. But there will be other voices heard on that day uttering expressions of gratitude to those who have cared for their souls; for the word spoken in season which determined the undecided will in favour of right; for the wise counsel, the pure precepts of love, the faithful rebuke, the cordial sympathy, the kind encouragement which have turned many to righteousness. They will say, "We were without hope, and you gave it to us. We were living in godlessness and sin, and your affectionate warnings opened our eyes to the perils of our condition. You came to us in our doubts with cheerful encouragement, in our despair to lead us to look to God. You have taught us the true value of life; you have set us in the right way. Others have done much for our outward prosperity, and we thank them; but you have made our souls alive, and you are the greatest of our benefactors." Why, then, do we not have more care for souls? It is partly because the god of this world has blinded our hearts; because, not being spiritual, we do not feel the reality of spiritual things; because we do not feel the infinite value of souls, the terrible evil of sin; because we have not faith in ourselves, in our own power of doing good by anything we can say; because we have not faith that God will help us to say what we ought; and because, moreover, we sometimes say as Cain did, "Am I my brother's keeper?" though in a different spirit from that in which he said it. We carry independence in religion too far, till it becomes mere individualism; and we neglect the great law of love, which binds soul to soul, and ordains that no man liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. There is still another feeling which prevents us from direct attempts to help each other's soul, — the feeling that more can be done indirectly than directly; that we can do more for others by the influence of a good life and good example than by direct exhortation or advice. There is, indeed, great weight in this consideration. Certainly one way, and perhaps the most important way, in which we can help the souls of others is by manifesting good principles, living convictions, faithfulness to right, a tender and loving humanity in our own lives. Yet I cannot but think that direct influence might often with advantage be added to indirect; and that, without urging upon reluctant minds spiritual considerations, without prematurely pulling open the folded end of the spiritual life, without violating the sacred retirement and holy privacy of the interior soul, we may yet, if we are watchful, find many opportunities of saying words of direct counsel, which shall come at the right time, shall fall into the right place, and be like seed, to bear thirty, fifty, and a hundredfold. But though Christians are not faithful to this duty, though their love grows cold, and though many are obliged to say, "No man cares for my soul," yet there is One who always cares for the souls of all His children. God cares for souls evermore. All souls are His, and He will not let them go without many an effort to draw them up to Himself. He sends many blessed influences, He sends many holy providences ever to those who are neglected and forsaken by man.

(J. Freeman Clarke.)

: — "Two things a master commits to his servant's care," saith one, "the child and the child's clothes." It will be but a poor excuse for the servant to say at his master's return, "Sir, here are all the child's clothes neat and clean, but the child is lost!" Much so will be the account that many will give to God of their souls and bodies at the great day. "Lord, here is my body; I was very careful for it. I neglected nothing that belonged to its content and welfare; but for my soul, that is lost and cast away for ever. I took little thought and care about it."

( J. Flavel.)

David, Psalmist
Beheld, Care, Cared, Cares, Careth, Concerned, Escape, Failed, Fled, Flee, Friend, Inquiring, Knoweth, None, Notice, Perished, Recognizing, Refuge, Regards, Remains, Safe, Seeing, Soul, Takes, Watch
1. David shows that in his trouble all his comfort was in prayer unto God

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Psalm 142:4

     5490   refuge
     5689   friendlessness
     5901   loneliness

Psalm 142:1-7

     5088   David, character
     8610   prayer, asking God

February the First the Soul in Prison
"Bring my soul out of prison!" --PSALM cxlii. I too, have my prison-house, and only the Lord can deliver me. There is the prison-house of sin. It is a dark and suffocating hole, without friendly light or morning air. And it is haunted by such affrighting shapes, as though my iniquities had incarnated themselves in ugly and repulsive forms. None but the Lord can bring me out. And there is the prison-house of sorrow. My griefs sometimes wrap me about like cold confining walls, which have neither
John Henry Jowett—My Daily Meditation for the Circling Year

Out of the Deep of Loneliness, Failure, and Disappointment.
My heart is smitten down, and withered like grass. I am even as a sparrow that sitteth alone on the housetop--Ps. cii. 4, 6. My lovers and friends hast Thou put away from me, and hid mine acquaintance out of my sight--Ps. lxxviii. 18. I looked on my right hand, and saw there was no man that would know me. I had no place to flee unto, and no man cared for my soul. I cried unto Thee, O Lord, and said, Thou art my Hope. When my spirit was in heaviness, then Thou knewest my path.--Ps. cxlii. 4, 5.
Charles Kingsley—Out of the Deep

The Ceaselessness of Prayer
The Ceaselessness of Prayer Prayer as Christian freedom, and prayer as Christian life--these are two points I would now expand. I. First, as to the moral freedom involved and achieved in prayer. Prayer has been described as religion in action. But that as it stands is not a sufficient definition of the prayer which lives on the Cross. The same thing might be said about the choicest forms of Christian service to humanity. It is true enough, and it may carry us far; but only if we become somewhat
P. T. Forsyth—The Soul of Prayer

The Theology of St. Hilary of Poitiers.
This Chapter offers no more than a tentative and imperfect outline of the theology of St. Hilary; it is an essay, not a monograph. Little attempt will be made to estimate the value of his opinions from the point of view of modern thought; little will be said about his relation to earlier and contemporary thought, a subject on which he is habitually silent, and nothing about the after fate of his speculations. Yet the task, thus narrowed, is not without its difficulties. Much more attention, it is
St. Hilary of Poitiers—The Life and Writings of St. Hilary of Poitiers

Question of the Contemplative Life
I. Is the Contemplative Life wholly confined to the Intellect, or does the Will enter into it? S. Thomas, On the Beatific Vision, I., xii. 7 ad 3m II. Do the Moral Virtues pertain to the Contemplative Life? S. Augustine, Of the City of God, xix. 19 III. Does the Contemplative Life comprise many Acts? S. Augustine, Of the Perfection of Human Righteousness, viii. 18 " Ep., cxxx. ad probam IV. Does the Contemplative Life consist solely in the Contemplation of God, or in the Consideration
St. Thomas Aquinas—On Prayer and The Contemplative Life

The piety of the Old Testament Church is reflected with more clearness and variety in the Psalter than in any other book of the Old Testament. It constitutes the response of the Church to the divine demands of prophecy, and, in a less degree, of law; or, rather, it expresses those emotions and aspirations of the universal heart which lie deeper than any formal demand. It is the speech of the soul face to face with God. Its words are as simple and unaffected as human words can be, for it is the genius
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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